Most Important Languages to Learn
By: Sehar Khan
In today’s world of global business access, when language barriers are no longer insurmountable and it is easy to localize your business across the world with the help of a localization partner and a motivated team of individuals, businesses only stand to gain when they chose to localize. To localize, however, learning new languages is the key.
In fact, learning new languages is so important that it encompasses all areas of our lives—from academic collaborations to business dealings, from travelling to games, and from ordering a product online to reading a magazine.
But out of the 7102 currently spoken languages, which ones are the most important languages to learn? Let’s have a look.
English, termed as the global language of the world, has over 370 million speakers worldwide. That is almost half of the world. Proficiency in the English language is a must if one is looking for professional as well as personal success, English should be at the top of his ‘to-learn” list. Here are a few statistics:
- Native Speakers: 370 million
- Non-native speakers: 600 million
- Official language in: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, and 50 other countries
- Un-official language in: UAE, Sri Lanka, and 40 other countries
For any individual living in the United States, learning Spanish is not only a language to learn as “a hobby”, but is “a necessity”. Learning Spanish is one of the best investments you can make as it is spoken by hundreds of millions of native speakers around the world.
In fact, Spanish comes second only to Chinese in terms of most spoken languages of the world and the most important languages to learn. Additionally, Spanish is the third most studied language in the world after English and French.
- Native Speakers: 470 million
- Non-native speakers: 100 million
- Official language in: Mexico, Spain, Colombia, and 15 other countries
- Un-official language in: Belize, Andorra, Gibraltar, and United States
Chinese Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in the world with an approximately 1.2 billion speakers speaking it as their native tongue. Spoken by 70% of Chinese population, China is the new boss of the coming ages when it will surpass even English as the language of business.
This is fueled even more by the GDP figures of China which are higher than those of United States and continue to show an upward acceleration. Let’s look at some of the statistics:
- Native Speakers: 1.2 billion
- Non-native speakers: 200 million
- Official language in: China, Taiwan and Singapore
- Un-official language in: Indonesia, Southern Vietnam, and Malaysia.
Ranked as the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin, French is the language of 370 million speakers worldwide. The importance of learning French can be gauged by the fact that it is the second most widely-spoken language in Europe and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
France is the sixth biggest economy of the world and continues to be the epicenter of all major businesses globally.
- Native Speakers: 80 million
- Non-native speakers: 153 million
- Official language in: France, Canada, Madagascar, Cameroon, and 25 other countries
- Un-official language in: Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and 22 other countries
It is common knowledge that the Arab countries are at the forefront of business and trade in the world and the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia and Gulf States are a highly lucrative market for business expansion, with an impressive economic outlook and positive economic indicators.
Arabic is so important that it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and the fifth most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin, Spanish, English, and Hindi. Take a closer look:
- Native Speakers: 290 million
- Non-native speakers: 132 million
- Official language in: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and 16 other countries
- Un-official language in: Chad, Djibouti, Somalia, and South Sudan
The German language has an estimated 110 million native speakers and is the most widely spoken language in Europe. As one of the 3 official languages of the European Union, this language has a huge 110 million figure of native speakers in the world and is fast gaining popularity with the advancements in trade and business by Germany.
- Native Speakers: 110 million
- Non-native speakers: 52 million
- Official language in: Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein
- Un-official language in: Brazil, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and 11 other countries.
The Final Word:
Irrespective of which language tops the list of the most important languages to learn, the vitality of learning a new language should never be overlooked. It is easy to say you will learn new languages, but learning the languages that are bound to be impactful in the future will require dedication, effort and a little bit of motivation. All this, and you are good to go.